Though rumors of Eddie Lacy signing elsewhere began running rampant over the past week, several Green Bay Packers’ supporters remained hopeful of the 2013 second-round pick coming to terms with his old team until the inevitable was confirmed earlier today with the Seahawks inking No. 27 to a one-year, $5.5-million deal.
Lacy might never have fulfilled his enormous potential due to his infamous struggles to stay in shape, but the few glimpses we saw of the Alabama Slammer bouncing off defenders at the start of his injury-plagued 2016 season were enough to endorse his return to Packers News.
While the names of Latavius Murray and Jamaal Charles have been bandied about as realistic veteran replacements, the best option to fill in for Lacy is a solidly-built 250-pound Sherman tank that has a nose for the end zone.
Yes, that would be LeGarrette Blount, who has bounced around quite a bit since entering the league in 2010 as an undrafted free agent signed by the Tennessee Titans.
Blount has always been very athletic for his size, but has seldom been the recipient of high praise among NFL evaluators given his tendency to stop his feet and redirect his course as a young runner.
Also, Blount never developed into a pass-catching weapon since entering the pro game following his successful, if not controversial (see on-field sucker punch), run at the University of Oregon.
But while fans and media members often go to great lengths in identifying an athlete’s flaws, they run the risk of not putting enough energy into emphasizing his attributes.
The aptly-named 30-year-old ball carrier is quite simply a forceful battering ram that has no reservations in lowering his shoulder to bludgeon the defense and gaining some tough yards along the way.
Blount not only surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier for a second time in his eight-year career this past season, but he ran in a league-leading 18 touchdowns. What’s more, he leads all running backs in rushing scores over the past two seasons with 24.
But it’s not just the total numbers that make this unrestricted free agent so appealing for any running back-needy organization, it’s his proven effectiveness to achieve successful outcomes in critical game situations.
In 16 attempts to punch it in from the 1-yard line last year, Blount managed to hit pay dirt 10 times, which amounted to a 62.5-percent success rate that far exceeds the 50-percent league-wide average in those spots, according to Jeff Howe from the Boston Herald.
Moreover, the two-time Super-Bowl Champion Brahma Bull has amassed 14 touchdowns from the 1-yard line since 2015 – five more than the next closest player in that department.
Last year saw Aaron Rodgers use his feet far more than what should be expected from a contending squad that hopes to keep its franchise quarterback intact for a full slate of 16 regular-season games and the postseason.
Rodgers scored every one of Green Bay’s three rushing touchdowns through the first 10 weeks of season until Aaron Ripkowski finally broke through on a 1-yard plunge versus the Eagles.
Don’t anticipate that happening with a closer like Blount in the fold.
From a financial perspective, it shouldn’t take much to entice the one-time track-and-field competitor to jump at the chance of becoming the newest member of the Packers considering his base salaries of $705,882.00 and $760,000.00 in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Whatever he gets should be far less than what the younger Murray or future Hall-of-Famer Adrian Peterson will command on the open market.
Furthermore, Blount seems like the best option once you factor in how the Raiders have spent the better part of two years trying to minimize Murray’s role in their offense.
And when one stacks the eighth-year veteran up against Peterson, Blount doesn’t have the mileage of his 31-year-old counterpart nor the injury history.
As for Charles, the long-time Chief is too close to being a carbon copy of Montgomery and there’s no guarantee he’ll ever come close to being the same player again after a pair of ACL tears.
The fact that the Patriots have just added Rex Burkhead to the mix may be a sign that Bill Belichick is ready to chart a new course that doesn’t include the former Oregon Duck.
Yes, Lacy is gone, but the next best thing could be right around the corner … and one can argue he’s the closest thing to the ex-Packer in so many ways.
Let’s get this done, Ted.
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